In honor of the first Peer Specialist Global Recognition Day, VA Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin, MD, sent a message to the VA community about the importance of "peer specialists," in particular as part of VA mental healthcare teams. In this capacity, peer specialists are Veterans who are in recovery from mental health conditions. Not only do they provide examples of successful recovery and support to their fellow Veterans, they also act as "system navigators that are invaluable in linking Veterans with the services they need, since they once used those same services."
HSR&D has long recognized the potential significance of peer support in helping Veterans with a variety of conditions. Please see a video featuring Marcia Valenstein, MD, part of HSR&D's Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR), who speaks about peer-to-peer support for Veterans with depression. Also see below for a list of HSR&D studies on peer support.
HSR&D studies on the value of peer support include: